Bruiser Queen (Vapor)
by Sheril Stanford
One member of this three girl band, singer/bassist Kerri Kenney, is an actress on MTV’s The State. Cake Like‘s first disc, 1994’s Delicious, was produced by Girls Against Boys’ Eli Janney and released as an import only on Avant, art music icon John Zorn’s label. Their 1995 three song EP, Mr. Fireman , was produced by former Car Ric Ocasek. So you know one thing about this disc, possibly two. And they’re both wrong. Truth be told, listening to Bruiser Queen is like going through your grandmother’s jewelry box – there’s some great stuff you’re just dying to put on, and there’s some real junk. One of the prizes in the collection is “The New Girl” a mix of Kristen Hersh-type painful childhood memories (“I heard you’re adopted…”) blended with Kim Deal-style super-strength nyah, nyah vocals and heavy duty bass. Another jewel in Bruiser Queen‘s crown is “Mr. Fireman,” presumably a re-release of the 1995 tune, with the rant, “Ooh, fire, fire! I called you 15 fucking minutes ago! My apartment house is on fire! Bring your goddamn truck and some water!” Hmm, are we talking a big, big love here, or is there REALLY a fire? Evoking memories of misspent youth is “Lorraine’s Car,” with its rape scenario lyric,”Stop the car! I want to get out! Just let me out at the next 7-11!” backed by haunting whispers of “But you’re so pretty… But I’m only 14! ” Intense stuff, but the lighthearted tunes work just as well, such as “Latin Lover” – “Enrique, con leche, Juan, Fernando, I saw them all on my vacation in Mexico, yada, yada, yada.” She really says that – “yada, yada, yada”. Strained, strangled vocals (what happened, honey?) detract from the strength of the glowing, somber lyric on “Destroyed,” and the same with the almost gospel feel of “Pretty Now.” So what – there’s a little junk in every jewelry box.